The importance of member retention and the danger of member churn

Engaging with your members is crucial for your business’s success. If you want members to keep returning, you must prioritize member retention when creating marketing and operational strategies. 

Without a steady stream of returning customers, your revenue and customer satisfaction could suffer. In this blog post, we will dive deep into the importance of member retention for fitness studios and provide effective practices to reduce customer churn over time.

What are member retention & churn, and why do they matter?

Member retention is vital for any organization that wants to cultivate a loyal customer base. It means keeping existing members engaged and consistently returning to your services. On the other hand, membership churn refers to the rate at which members cancel or fail to renew their memberships.

Now, let’s illustrate this with a real example. Imagine a fitness studio with 150 members and an impressive 95% retention rate. With a 5% churn rate, let’s simplify things and assume the studio charges $100 per month.

Month 0: 150 members X $100/month = $15,000

Month 1: 142 members X $100/month = $14,200

Month 2: 135 members X $100/month = $13,500

Month 3: 128 members X $100/month = $12,800

The studio experiences a 15% decrease in monthly profits in just three months. They also need an average of seven new members every month to maintain current membership levels. 

A male gym owner stands with female gym member while looking at tablet used to showcase member retention

Did you know that selling to existing customers has a 60-70% success rate? In contrast, it drops to 5-20% when acquiring new customers.1 This highlights the importance of member retention. When you keep your existing customers happy and loyal, it has a direct impact on your organization’s revenue, customer satisfaction, and reputation. By investing in member satisfaction, you set yourself up for long-term success. One study reveals that boosting customer retention rates by 5% can significantly increase profits by 25-95% over time.1

Now let’s explore the impact of boosting the retention rate to an impressive 98% and reducing the churn rate by 3%.

Month 0: 150 members x $100/month = $15,000

Month 1: 147 members x $100/month = $14,700

Month 2: 144 members x $100/month = $14,400

Month 3: 141 members x $100/month = $14,100

To maintain membership levels, the studio requires fewer new members per month. Additionally, the revenue decreased by only 6% over three months, assuming no new members joined. 

Costs associated with acquiring new customers

Acquiring new customers may seem like a positive thing for any business, but it’s essential to consider the costs associated with it. It costs five times as much to attract a new customer compared to retaining an existing one.1 Several factors contribute to this higher cost, including marketing and advertising expenses, sales team salaries, and the cost of lead generation. While gaining new customers is crucial for continued growth, businesses must weigh the costs and ensure they have a solid plan to justify the expense. Successful companies are those that strike a balance between acquiring new customers and focusing on retaining existing ones.

Explore strategies to keep members engaged and loyal

Building and maintaining a loyal membership base is vital for long-term success in any business or organization. One of the most effective ways to keep members engaged and committed is by helping them achieve their personal goals. Whether through personalized coaching, skill-building workshops, or providing resources and support, when members feel like they’re making progress, they’re more likely to stick around. Consistent engagement leads to higher retention rates, contributing to growth and sustainability. According to a study, even a single interaction with an at-risk member can reduce their likelihood of dropping out by nearly 10%.2 Additionally, every two interactions fitness staff have with a member in a month results in an extra visit from that member the following month.2

 It is vital to check in with clients and set attainable goals regularly to improve customer loyalty and longevity. One way to measure success is by calculating the adherence rate, which reflects how often clients complete their workouts within a specified time frame, such as a week. Consistently active clients are more likely to achieve their goals and maintain their membership. So, if you want to enhance loyalty and retention, prioritize a member-focused approach that provides personalized support for each individual’s fitness journey.

Examine methods to identify which members are at risk of churning

In today’s competitive fitness industry, retaining members has never been more crucial. Most fitness studios face the challenge of identifying members who are at risk of churning before it’s too late. Fortunately, several methods can help mitigate this challenge. One of the most effective methods is analyzing member data. By closely examining data on retention, churn, member attendance, social media activity, and interactions with staff, you can easily spot trends and make proactive decisions to retain these members. 

The length of engagement (LEG) is a crucial metric for measuring gym retention. By calculating the average length of time each member spends with your organization, you can effectively track your performance and identify areas for improvement. To determine LEG, divide the total number of months of engagement by the number of members. This insightful metric is critical to understanding and enhancing your gym’s member retention strategy.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Member 1: 12 months

Member 2: 10 months

Member 3: 14 months

LEG = (12 months +10 months +14 months)/3 members = 12 months/member

When tracking gym membership, it’s crucial to consider both current and former members to get an accurate picture. You can avoid artificially inflating the numbers by including active and departed members in the LEG data. Many gyms track the LEG for current, departed, and overall members to have a comprehensive understanding. By analyzing LEG data, you can identify when members may be at risk of canceling their membership. Armed with this information, you can implement effective engagement strategies to keep these members loyal and committed to your gym. 

Identify other key factors that contribute to member churn and how to counteract them

Engagement and interaction are crucial for fitness studio members. Feeling like a valued part of a community and receiving acknowledgment from staff is vital to retaining members. When these elements are lacking, members can lose interest and ultimately cancel their membership. In addition, low adherence to a workout routine can also lead to dropouts. To address these issues, fitness studios should emphasize fostering a strong sense of community and encouraging member engagement through events, classes, and forums. Furthermore, staff should establish personal connections with members and regularly check in to keep them motivated and accountable. By creating a welcoming and supportive environment and promoting consistent adherence to a routine, fitness studios can significantly reduce the risk of customer churn.

How to increase member retention with video messaging

Communication is essential for retaining and satisfying customers. Recent research shows that 90% of club members value communication with staff members.2 Video messaging is a powerful tool to enhance this communication. By sending personalized videos, you can demonstrate that you genuinely care about your customer’s experience and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction.

Video messaging allows you to address concerns, answer questions, and provide valuable tips and advice to help customers make the most of your products or services. Incorporating video messaging into your communication strategy can help minimize customer churn and keep your customers happy.


For a business to thrive, retaining members and minimizing customer churn is crucial. Acquiring new customers comes with high costs, which is why it is essential to focus on strategies that keep existing members engaged and loyal. Businesses can stay ahead of the competition by identifying members who are at risk of leaving and addressing the key factors that contribute to customer churn. Video messages offer a fantastic opportunity to keep people interested in your brand, build relationships, and engage in meaningful conversations. At KindKatch, we provide an easy-to-use video messaging platform that effectively helps companies reduce customer churn. Feel free to explore our case studies to discover how video messages can boost member retention rates and reduce the costs of acquiring new customers.

1 Saleh, Khalid. “Customer Acquisition Vs.Retention Costs – Statistics and Trends.” Invesp, 11 Nov. 2019,

2 “15 Surprising Facts about Health Club Member Retention.” IHRSA, Accessed 24 July 2023. 

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